Top News

Pollution concerns raised after Farley Mowat sinks at Shelburne Wharf


SHELBURNE -Once the proud flagship of the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the former MV Farley Mowat is now lying on the bottom of Shelburne Harbour.

The remains of the vessel were towed into Shelburne last fall after being forced from its former berth in Lunenburg. It had languished at the wharf since.

On Wednesday Shelburne firefighters were called out after the stern of the ship began slipping under the water. Firefighters refused to board the vessel due to safety concerns. Shortly after, people were asked to leave the Shelburne Marine Terminal and boats were moved over safety concerns.

The vessel slipped beneath the water and rolled partially on to its side around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Pollution concerns

Concerns over pollutants saw Canadian Coast Guard and Environment Canada officers arrive at the Shelburne Wharf shortly after the sinking. The vessel has since been surrounded with a containment boom to corral pollutants leaking from the ship. There were reports of an oil sheen on the water and a Canadian Coast Guard aircraft spent part of the morning buzzing the coastline in Shelburne Harbour to determine the extent of the problem.

Unwanted visitor

The ship was towed into the wharf last fall under the cloak of darkness. The port manager was told that one of its two tugs was in mechanical distress and a safe port was needed right away.

Its arrival in Shelburne coincided with an eviction notice from the Waterfront Development Corporation in Lunenburg.

The ship was originally built as a Norwegian fisheries research and enforcement vessel and was purchased in 1996 by the Sea Shepherd society. 
In 2002, it was renamed after Canadian writer Farley Mowat and used to monitor what the society called the unethical and barbaric killing of seals.


The ship was seized by an RCMP tactical squad in the Cabot Strait in waters off Cape Breton in 2008. Two senior crew of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, were also arrested, charged and later found guilty of interfering with Canada's East Coast seal hunt and endangering the lives of sealers out on the ice floes.


The vessel was later sold and found its way to Lunenburg in 2010 for what was to be a refit for operation as an expedition vessel for research in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

That refit never happened and within a year the ship was on the market again to cover unpaid docking fees.

Since its arrival in Shelburne, Town officials received numerous complaints about the presence of the vessel at the wharf. It was also recently the subject of a court order over unpaid docking fees. 

The remains of the vessel were towed into Shelburne last fall after being forced from its former berth in Lunenburg. It had languished at the wharf since.

On Wednesday Shelburne firefighters were called out after the stern of the ship began slipping under the water. Firefighters refused to board the vessel due to safety concerns. Shortly after, people were asked to leave the Shelburne Marine Terminal and boats were moved over safety concerns.

The vessel slipped beneath the water and rolled partially on to its side around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Pollution concerns

Concerns over pollutants saw Canadian Coast Guard and Environment Canada officers arrive at the Shelburne Wharf shortly after the sinking. The vessel has since been surrounded with a containment boom to corral pollutants leaking from the ship. There were reports of an oil sheen on the water and a Canadian Coast Guard aircraft spent part of the morning buzzing the coastline in Shelburne Harbour to determine the extent of the problem.

Unwanted visitor

The ship was towed into the wharf last fall under the cloak of darkness. The port manager was told that one of its two tugs was in mechanical distress and a safe port was needed right away.

Its arrival in Shelburne coincided with an eviction notice from the Waterfront Development Corporation in Lunenburg.

The ship was originally built as a Norwegian fisheries research and enforcement vessel and was purchased in 1996 by the Sea Shepherd society. 
In 2002, it was renamed after Canadian writer Farley Mowat and used to monitor what the society called the unethical and barbaric killing of seals.


The ship was seized by an RCMP tactical squad in the Cabot Strait in waters off Cape Breton in 2008. Two senior crew of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, were also arrested, charged and later found guilty of interfering with Canada's East Coast seal hunt and endangering the lives of sealers out on the ice floes.


The vessel was later sold and found its way to Lunenburg in 2010 for what was to be a refit for operation as an expedition vessel for research in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

That refit never happened and within a year the ship was on the market again to cover unpaid docking fees.

Since its arrival in Shelburne, Town officials received numerous complaints about the presence of the vessel at the wharf. It was also recently the subject of a court order over unpaid docking fees. 

Recent Stories